Kitchenesia.com - Everyone knows it and has a love/hate relation with it. Unlike your flashy meet up point or coworking space, Warung Tegal — shortened as “warteg” (a food stall that specifically serves Javanese food) — is not a place to see and to be seen.
However, it is a place where food and democracy coexist. College students, ojek drivers, police officers and dandy millennials in their 4-wheelers gobble up an assortment of homemade Javanese dishes whose price is budget-friendly to most people. It is not an overstatement that warteg is, without question, the only place where the gap between rich and poor zero. Did we mention that it is budget-friendly?
There are 30,000 warteg properties spread across Jakarta. I do buy their food. But to be sincere, I barely eat at one of them. I prefer takeaway. It is because nearly all of Wartegs I’ve encountered epitomized their notoriety: unhygienic, humid, and uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just me. But somehow I have a feeling that you’d agree.
Being a typically small space, warteg is where people munch unattractively, sweat excessively, and smoke heavily. However, in warteg, though your comfort in eating is sacrificed for cheap and fulfilling food, you’d find your true self, your primal self where primordial needs suppress pride and fashion. Your being, your Indonesia.
That doesn’t stop there.
Commentaries about Wahteg are ubiquitous on both online and TV, and nearly all of them give this “millennial warteg” good reviews. Whether the term “millennial warteg” exists or not, it tickles my interest to go - and perhaps eat there.
One Thursday after lunchtime, almost all of Wahteg chairs were occupied by late-lunch diners. It is quite surprising since similar ventures are rampant in this area. To think that one-year-old restaurant outwin its old competitors is pretty unusual.
Its facade reflects the typical warteg design with glorious big glasses encompassing half of its front side, allowing bystanders to peek inside. The only significant thing of Wahteg is its chic-vintage design, full gradient of pastel green. Wahteg’s design somehow tells me that it would offer relaxing and cool ambience, the one that your original warteg only wish it could have.